Unlike with women's jewelry, you don't get to hear much about men's jewelry trends. If you do try to keep up to date, you will have undoubtedly heard that in the past few years, the contemporary man has embraced jewelry more. Wearing more than a watch and ring no longer garner quizzical glances. All types of men are now much more comfortable expressing their personality and personal style by wearing jewelry.
There is now far less self-consciousness about men's accessories and in response, there are a great many more options in jewelry for men.
A particular growth area is in types of bracelets for men. Previously a man was limited pretty much to a chain bracelet of chunky gold links. There are now bangles, cuff bracelets, and beaded bracelets in all manner of styles, designs, and materials. Some bracelets go with a formal or casual look - essentially something to go with the whole gamut of men's fashion.
Like any piece of jewelry, the impact of a bracelet is all about how you wear it. You can choose the best men's bracelets but it's how you style it that counts.
How to Choose a Men's Bracelet
Whatever your sartorial style, accessorizing it begins with choosing the right jewelry. You want something in tune with the image or style you want to portray. Bracelets are one of the easiest pieces of jewelry to wear. Your choices should appear effortless. The key is having a selection that provides plenty of options for every outfit and every occasion.
You should be comfortable that you have the right bracelets that you can wear to a business function with a suit and bracelets that work for any social occasion. Use these style tips to help:
Consider Fit and Proportion
The wrong size/shape of a bracelet can make it stand out for the wrong reasons. Fit and proportion are as equally important with jewelry as they are for clothes.
Choose a bracelet size that is in proportion to your wrist. Larger wrists require larger bracelets. Smaller wrists require smaller bracelets.
A bracelet that is designed to hang loosely on the wrist should not be so low on the wrist as to hang down over the hand. A close-fitting bracelet should not cut into the flesh. Also, consider the weight factor. The heavier a bracelet is, the more close-fitting it should be.
It is a matter of comfort. You don't want to spend all day adjusting a metal cuff bracelet that keeps sliding up and down your arm or fiddling with an ID bracelet that constantly knocks against your keyboard when you're working.
Style and Aesthetics
There are so many different bracelet styles so, other than just liking the look of a particular men's bracelet, you should have some idea of how it fits into your collection or how you would wear it.
Understanding your style preferences will help inform the decision and your overall look. Clothing choices will also come into play. Will you wear a bracelet with a suit and tie or will it be limited to the times you wear a t-shirt? How will you wear bracelets? will it be a single statement piece or do you like the idea of layering?
Types of Men's Bracelets
Leather bracelet - Woven (braided), sculptured or flat, leather can give a rugged, masculine vibe. A leather band can evoke a retro look and a casual style.
Beaded bracelet - with a huge array of colors and styles, beads provide a more natural look than a metal chain. They can be understated to demonstrate the affable side of your personality or edgy to provide a conversation starter. Beaded bracelets are often considered essential when layering. This type is the most popular of men's bracelets.
Metal bracelet - as different styles, bracelets in different metals create a different look. A stainless steel bangle looks very different from silver bracelets. A chain bracelet says something very different from a bangle set with gemstones.
Cuff bracelet - usually of significant size, a metal or leather cuff is an emphatic statement of style and is always best worn with a t-shirt so it is seen.
Cord, string, and rope bracelets - what originally started as friendship bracelets add a quirky personal look.
Whatever all this advice may say, there may be a time when you buy a bracelet simply because you like it. This is perfectly ok. Wearing something and looking good in it is always easier when you love it!
How to Wear Men's Bracelets
Like with your clothes, if you aren't comfortable with the way you style your bracelet(s), it can lead to a bad day. Don't spend time wishing you hadn't worn it. Take off any bracelet at any point you aren't happy with its look or feel.
To avoid having to do this, there are some tips for how to wear men's bracelets to guide you.
There are three basic rules:
- A bracelet should be worn like a watch. This means directly against your skin and not over any long sleeves.
- Stick to wearing bracelets on one wrist only. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, unless your style is naturally flamboyant, bracelets on both wrists look out of balance. Wear your watch on one wrist and one bracelet on the other or stack bracelets on the same wrist as your watch, layering to create a certain look.
- When stacking, use a good mix of thinner and medium bracelets. A combo of too many big metal bands is not a good look.
Dress for the Occasion
People are still judged for their fashion so if you wear men's bracelets, your choices will be scrutinized as much as your choice of tie or shoes. (This isn’t discrimination - women get judged in the same way but are more used to it because women's jewelry has been "normal" for a lot longer!).
There is plenty of flexibility in the types of men's jewelry so matching the right bracelet to the right occasion is not a chore. Most of the time, it comes down to common sense.
Wear bracelets that you like and add to your overall style aesthetic but also match the occasion.
If you are the focus of attention, maybe doing a presentation at work or trying to demonstrate a product, a visually stimulating agate bangle or noisy chain bracelet can be distracting for your audience.
Beaded bracelets - these are ideal for daily wear. They are comfortable, look good with almost any outfit, and are hardly ever frowned upon.
Cuff bracelets -a good choice for casual day wear. It provides a point of interest in what might be the simplest outfit of jeans and a t-shirt.
Slim leather bracelet - can be worn with a shirt, suit, and tie to add a refined look.
Metal bangle - another style that works well for more formal outfits.
There are some occasions - such as a wedding - where you can make a statement with your choice of bracelet that may not suit other times.
How to Style a Single Bracelet
First off, decide whether you are going to wear your bracelet in combination with your watch on the same wrist, on the opposite wrist, or choose either wrist because you don't wear a watch.
If you are going to wear a bracelet and a watch, consider the widths to achieve a nice balance between contrast and harmony. Choose a thinner bracelet if your watch is chunky and vice versa.
If you want a neutral look, choose something natural like a leather band, carved wood bracelet, or a rubber band in earth color.
A single bracelet can also bring an outfit together. Choose something that provides a pop of color or make your accessories look seamless by choosing a bracelet that picks up a color in your ensemble. It might match your tie or one of the stripes in your shirt, for example.
How to Wear Mulitple Bracelets
What is layering? It's the creation of a unique look by wearing several different types of bracelets on one wrist at the same time.
Stacked bracelets can be of any sort and mixed in size. They can be of different materials that either coordinate or contrast, which also applies to the colors, although you can choose a set color scheme too.
Although it is possible to wear as many as you like, you should still aim for a harmonious balance. It should look naturally curated rather than something just thrown together. A good combination is three bracelets: a simple metal bangle, a beaded bracelet, and a leather band.
Take care not to stack too many heavy bracelets as this can create the impression you're trying too hard.
If you want a rugged look, combine a variety of chain and steel bracelets.
Leather and beads create a rustic, relaxed look.
Steel and leather bracelets together add a little sophistication.
How to Wear Bracelets With a Watch
Most men wear their watch on their non-dominant hands. It follows therefore that more examples of stacked bracelets also appear on non-dominant hands, using the watch in the combination.
Stacking bracelets with a watch is a hot trend and when you get it right it creates a marvelously stylish statement. Conversely, it can also be a disaster worthy of being reported to the fashion police.
There are a couple of things to bear in mind.
If you have purchased your watch as a statement piece, layering it with bracelets could distract from its impact.
Your watch could sustain friction damage and/or scratches from constant contact with bracelets, especially metal bracelets.
Will your watch work well with layering?
It helps to have an idea of whether your watch will make a good inclusion in a wrist stack. You can simply experiment by mixing and matching or you can use watch size.
Watch diameters generally fall between 35 and 50mm. Those on the larger side 40mm+ are considered to be sufficient adornment on their own. Smaller watches are ideal for wearing with stacked bracelets.
What's the best number of bracelets to wear with a watch?
Again, we aren't going to give any rules you have to stick to. Generally, men's style tips say that a watch with one of two bracelets is ideal. However, it's a matter of personal taste. You might aim for the sprezzatura look (effortless fashion) but if you have the confidence and panache to pull off a pile of stacked bracelets along with your watch, go for it.
What is the right type of bracelets to wear with a watch?
With such a vast array of bracelet styles and a massive range of men's fashion, there is no right or wrong. Aim for a seamless look or a contrast. Take into account the advice given above regarding the number of bracelets and mixing sizes, materials, and colors to achieve the look YOU want.
Thinner bracelets enable you to add more to your stack to create your look.
If you want elegance, match your bracelets to your watch color.
Choose complimentary or clashing colors if you want visual impact.
Remember too, have a sense of occasion. A bracelet set will add to any first impression you create so knowing when to wear them is as important as knowing how to wear them.
Yes, there are some basic guidelines and even some conventions, but men's bracelets are a matter of personal choice. Your pick can be an expression of your casual style even when you're wearing formal attire or it can be a statement of coordination that says here's a man in control of his fashion aesthetic.
Like any piece of jewellery, buy something you like to look at and like to wear whether that's by itself, with your watch, or with other stacked bracelets.